Saw this in the news today. Even his union president wants him jailed (gaoled).
January 28, 2011 11:43 AM EST
LOS ANGELES (AP) A school police officer will be fired for an alleged shooting hoax that touched off one of the largest local manhunts in recent memory and forced thousands of students to remain in their classrooms for hours, the head of the Los Angeles Unified School District announced Friday.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines said he has directed the school police chief and the district's lawyer to immediately relieve Jeff Stenroos of duty and begin the process of dismissing him.
"I would like to apologize to the public for the hoax that was perpetrated by a rogue officer," Cortines said in a statement.
"Thousands of people were inconvenienced by the actions of this one man," Stenroos said. "I want to again apologize to everyone who was alarmed, who worked long hours and who were adversely affected by his actions."
Cortines said the alleged actions of the eight-year veteran do not reflect the integrity of all school police.
Law enforcement officials say Stenroos was lying when he said a gunman shot him in the chest as he patrolled near a San Fernando Valley high school Jan. 19. He was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of filing a false police report and was released on $20,000 bail shortly before midnight. The allegation is a felony.
"The current state of the investigation refutes Stenroos' initial account of the incident and we are now certain that there is no outstanding suspect in this shooting," city Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference Thursday night.
A law enforcement official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the case, said Stenroos was mishandling a firearm when he was shot.
The gunshot hit Stenroos in his bulletproof vest and authorities said that protection saved his life. He was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital later that night.
Stenroos, 30, has not spoken publicly since the shooting. A call left for a Jeff Stenroos in Santa Clarita was not returned.
Steven K. Zipperman, chief of the 340-officer Los Angeles School Police Department, has said Stenroos is an eight-year veteran of the department.
Paul Weber, president of the union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers, said he was "disgusted" to hear that Stenroos filed a false report.
Beck defended the aggressive police response to the shooting, which occurred one day after a gun accidentally fired in a student's backpack at another Los Angeles high school, wounding two students.
"We go where these investigations take us," he said. "Finding the truth and obtaining some form of justice is what we're about."
The day of the shooting, an ambulance carrying Stenroos sped to a hospital with a motorcycle escort, nine schools with about 9,000 students were locked down as more than 350 police officers, sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers scoured 7 square miles of the affluent Woodland Hills neighborhood around El Camino Real High School for a gunman described as in his 40s with long brown hair.
Students were kept in their classrooms for hours without access to food or bathrooms, prompting anger and frustration from parents.
Later, a citizen was hailed as a good Samaritan for using the officer's radio to call for help and authorities mustered $100,000 in reward money for information leading to the shooter's arrest.
"His lies set into motion the largest search for a suspect in recent history and inconvenienced thousands of people for hours," the police union president said. "If these allegations are proven true, Mr. Stenroos is now where he belongs, behind bars."